May 17, 2018

Buena Vista University has named Lawrence P. Johnson as the new vice president for university development and alumni engagement. 

Johnson, who currently serves as the senior director of development at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wis., will assume his new role at BVU on June 28. 

Johnson is an accomplished advancement professional with more than 24 years of higher education experience in fundraising, marketing, and alumni relations. Prior to joining Carroll University, Johnson spent 12 years at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD), where he served as senior director of development for the Labovitz School of Business and Economics. During his tenure at UMD, Johnson helped secure more than $11 million in private support from alumni, friends, corporations, foundations, and business sources. 

I am extremely honored to join a strong, innovative institution of higher education committed to student and community success.

Lawrence Johnson

In addition to his other professional roles, Johnson previously worked as director of gift planning at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in Winona, Minn.; a development associate at the North Dakota State University Foundation in Fargo, N.D.; an alumni and annual fund director at the University of Jamestown in Jamestown, N.D.; and director of alumni affairs and assistant director of development at St. John's University in Queens, N.Y. In 2015, Johnson retired with 30 years of service as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve. 

“I am extremely honored to join a strong, innovative institution of higher education committed to student and community success,” said Johnson. “Through collaboration and building upon the success of others, I am eager to partner with President Merchant and the entire community to move BVU’s mission and vision forward by building relationships and generating new university resources.”  

As BVU’s vice president for university development and alumni engagement, Johnson will provide vision, strategic direction, and executive management of all development and alumni operations. He will be tasked with securing external support for BVU through capital campaigns, annual giving, major giving, and planned giving activities. Johnson will also work to bring a higher level of engagement to BVU through innovative programming for alumni and friends.   

“We are thrilled to name Lawrence to this highly important leadership position at BVU,” said BVU President Joshua D. Merchant. “He brings with him extensive experience and leadership in development as well as alumni relations, and I am confident in his ability to support BVU through philanthropy and engagement.” 

Johnson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from California State University Long Beach, and a Master of Science degree in student affairs administration in higher education from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. 

Outside of work, Johnson enjoys spending time with family, getting involved with the community and service organizations, and being outdoors. He and his wife, Jen, have twin boys, Aidan and Sawyer, who will enter the seventh grade in the fall. The couple also has a daughter, Shelby, who is set to attend Winona State University in Winona, Minn. in the fall to pursue a degree in nursing. 

“My family and I are all very excited about this new adventure,” added Johnson. “We’re really looking forward to joining the BVU family and getting immersed into the Storm Lake community.”